From Candy Crush to Minecraft: two very different video games that have nothing in common other than the fact that they both hail from the cold corner of northern Europe. According to data from the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm, 1 in 10 people in the world have, perhaps unknowingly, played a video game designed and developed in Sweden.
Between 2015 and 2017, the profits of the Swedish video game industry increased by 26% and before that, by 2013, it had already earned 752 million euros. But where does this growth come from? Video games entered a new Golden Age since the beginning of the 21st century. Small and medium sized video game producers emerged in the form of Super Mario and showed that they could snatch the limelight from giants of the industry.
The formula for Nordic success
For years now, Sweden has become the world referencing point for two sectors that come together in perfect harmony within video games: technology and design.
The rise in technology went hand in hand with Ericsson’s success as they conquered the European market in mobile telephone industry which was something completely groundbreaking for their time. The design aspect came to its glory when the Swedish giant IKEA started to democratize the elegant and modern design of Swedish designs within the reach of any pocket. These two disciplines were joined together in the world of video games, giving rise to products that were of higher quality and with a clearly recognizable seal.
Over time as these two key elements developed and served as the fundamental basis of this toy industry, innovation and competition joined the game and acted as the perfect playing ground for Nordic countries. As early as the 1980s, when the video game market was controlled by Japanese, American and British companies, a small national market emerged in Sweden in which developers used personal computers such as the Comodore 64 or Amiga to demonstrate their skills and create small products that were known as Demo scenes.
Finally, in addition to all the factors already mentioned, there is the rapid assimilation of gamer culture by Swedish society. The country understood this entertainment product as a discipline that was just as respectable as others with more experience, such as cinema and promoted and valued it from the very beginning. Currently, Sweden is the second country in the world that consumes more eSports, celebrates the largest eSports championship in the world and video games are incorporated into the educational system and is promoted as a sector with great job opportunities. The Dataspelsbranschen, which brings together all the companies in the Swedish video game industry, is one of the most important business organisations in the country.
Examples you may know
We refer to the evidence. The list of titles developed in Sweden is long and a very comprehensive one and in it we can find video games that have won multiple awards and were a resounding success since their launch.
Let's start by mentioning the best known ones such as: Minecraft, Candy Crush Saga, Battlefield, Unravel, Just Cause or Mirror's Edge. From neighbouring Finland, which has known how to take advantage of free-to-play like nobody else, there is Angry Birds and those of Rovio Studio. In addition, the studios have found a new genre in which they can poke their nose in thanks to the growing popularity of indie games.
With a new gameplay that reinvents itself at every moment and a very attractive and careful visual section, video games from northern Europe have gained a place in the industry that, hopefully, they will continue to grow for a long time.